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Outdoor activities

Our most recommended Zaandam Outdoor Activities

Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans with Cheese Tasting & Clog Factory

1. Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans with Cheese Tasting & Clog Factory

Join a guided tour from Amsterdam to visit the windmill village of Zaanse Schans which is an open-air museum housing working windmills, wooden houses, barns, and shops dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy live commentary from your guide, a clog workshop and a cheese-making demonstration. Meet your guide and driver at a central meeting point just across from Central Station in Amsterdam. Settle in for a comfortable, air-conditioned ride on a single deck bus that will take you to your destination in just 20 minutes. Upon arrival in the village, follow your guide for an orientation tour of the village. Visit the clog museum for a live wooden shoemaking workshop. Then, taste some Dutch farmer cheese on the cheese farm. Get a sense of Zaanse Schans' prosperity from the 18th and 19th centuries in the windmill village. Alongside windmills and barns, see houses that were originally built as homes for rich windmill owners and merchants. Admire their colorful facades painted in traditional hues of green, beige, and light blue. Finally, it is time to further explore the village on your own. Before you set off, take insider tips from your guide and learn about the region's local history and culture. At the end of the tour, hop back on the bus for your return journey to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & Marken Bus Tour

2. Amsterdam: Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam & Marken Bus Tour

Visit Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam, and Marken on a guided bus tour from Amsterdam. Admire the famous windmills of Zaanse Schans, attend a clog-making demonstration, and sample Edam and Gouda cheese. Depart Amsterdam by luxury bus on this exciting tour and head north of the city to see the historic windmills of Zaanse Schans on the banks of the river Zaan. Explore the traditional 17th-century houses and a collection of beautifully preserved windmills from the nation’s industrial heritage. Continue on to visit Edam, a beautiful town known worldwide for its cheese. Enjoy a cheese tasting and an exciting clog demonstration. Before the end of the day, go to Volendam and Marken, passing many authentic polders, the name given to land reclaimed from the sea. Wander down narrow streets, past colorful houses and visit the harbors full of fishing boats. You will have some free time to shop for souvenirs and sample the local fish specialties. Back in Amsterdam, you will be dropped off at the meeting point.

From Amsterdam: Giethoorn & Zaanse Schans Day Tour with Boat

3. From Amsterdam: Giethoorn & Zaanse Schans Day Tour with Boat

Your experience begins as your guide meets you near Amsterdam's Central Station, from where you travel to the typical Dutch windmill village of Zaanse Schans. Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum complete with a cheese farm, clog factory, diamond museum, bakery museum, and Kuiperij, where barrels were made to transport goods, green timber houses, traditional crafts, and windmills. Next, head to the unique Dutch village of Giethoorn, heading further north out of Amsterdam. As you travel, listen to learn about the history and significant elements in the Giethoorn region. The journey will take roughly 2 hours, with a break included to ensure a pleasant journey. Giethoorn is beautiful in all seasons and contains a simple beauty that hardly seems real. Discover this as you glide gently through its small canals, passing old but pretty thatched-roof farmhouses. Your captain will serve as a guide throughout this 1-hour boat trip around town. Get to know everything about Giethoorn, with extra time after your boat trip to walk or bike along a narrow footpath, or to learn how to operate the ''whisper boat'', an electric-motor boat. In the evening, arrive back in Amsterdam's center with the rest of your night to look forward to.

Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Tour

4. Amsterdam: Giethoorn, Volendam, and Zaanse Schans Tour

You will begin with to a trip to the enchanting village of Giethoorn in the north of the Netherlands for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Known as the “Venice of North”, the village is notable for its many canals and complete lack of roads. You will explore this fairy tale village, where less than 3,000 people live, throughout a 1-hour guided boat tour. Explore the preserved village on foot, and see how each farmhouse is built on a small man-made island. Wander the narrow footpaths to discover hundreds of bridges, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the village. Your trip will continue to the village of Volendam, where you can admire brightly painted wooden houses and see locals wearing their colorful regional attire. Your guide will take you on a short walk through the Volendam harbor, which has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in the village since 1875. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts for those at home or for yourself, and to have photos taken in traditional Dutch costume in one of many photo studios of the village. Your last destination is to explore the most picturesque traditional 17th-century Zaanse Schans village which contains houses and a collection of beautifully preserved windmills from the nation’s industrial heritage. In Zaanse Schans village you can stroll past the charming greenhouses and visit a factory where the clogs popular in this part of the country are made. There’s also nothing more Dutch than cheese, and whilst there you can try some at the Catharina Hoeve Farm where you will also learn about its production.

Marken, Volendam, and Edam Full-Day Tour from Amsterdam

5. Marken, Volendam, and Edam Full-Day Tour from Amsterdam

Enjoy a scenic full-day coach tour of North Holland, and discover a charming landscape of windmills, canals, picturesque villages, and locals in traditional costume. Choose the all-in option to add a few extras to your tour, including a clog-making demonstration and a boat trip. Depart from Amsterdam station for the small fishing town of Marken, renowned for its preservation of traditional Dutch culture. Take a walking tour through streets full of colorful houses. If you've chosen the all-in option, stop at a shoemaker’s studio to watch how wooden clogs are made. Next, head to Volendam by coach if you've chosen the standard option or board the Marken Express if you've chosen the all-in option for a boat trip across the beautiful IJssel Lake. On arrival in Volendam, enjoy free time to explore the shops or try on a traditional costume for a souvenir photo.  Then, enjoy a tasting at a traditional Holland cheese factory and learn how cheese is made before continuing into the heart of North Holland to Edam. Discover the history of the former shipyard and see Grote Kerk, the largest church in the Netherlands, as you stroll the cobbled streets. Next, take in the last stop on your tour, the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans. Admire its magnificent collection of historic windmills. If you opt for the all-in ticket, you can go inside one of the operating windmills to learn more about this Dutch icon of industrial architecture. Finally, marvel at the picturesque homes, wooden barns, and scenic meadows of North Holland as you travel back to Amsterdam by coach.

Zaanstreek Bus Day Ticket to Zaanse Schans & Zaanstreek

6. Zaanstreek Bus Day Ticket to Zaanse Schans & Zaanstreek

Go to the bus platform of Amsterdam Central Station and get on the red/grey public transport bus 391. Show your ticket to the bus driver, then take a seat and make yourself comfortable. Enjoy the beautiful city of Amsterdam before you go under the IJ-tunnel. Once you leave Amsterdam, you be surrounded by stunning landscapes as you soon enter the city of Zaandam. Either choose to depart there, or remain on the bus and go directly to de Zaanse Schans, one of the highlights of the Dutch history. De Zaanse Schans is a residential area in which the 18th and 19th centuries are brought to life. Stroll past the bakery museum and enjoy the smell of fresh cookies, or take a look at the warehouse where clogs are made. Be sure not to miss the cheese factory, pewter foundry, and the various windmills.

Amsterdam: Countryside Bike Tour and Zaanse Schans Windmills

7. Amsterdam: Countryside Bike Tour and Zaanse Schans Windmills

Learn about Dutch culture and history as you discover the area of Zaanse Schans on a half-day bicycle tour from Amsterdam. Meet your guide at Amsterdam Central Station and travel to Zaandam by train to start the bicycle tour. Cycle past industrial windmills and admire the beautiful landscape. Stop at a sawmill to learn how it operates, and visit a paper mill to see how paper was made in the 17th century. Pedal through the stunning wetlands, painted by Monet at the end of the 19th century. Pass the neighborhood of Domineestuin, filled with authentic wooden houses, before arriving in Zaanse Schans. Park your bicycle and enjoy a demonstration of how clogs are made. Take the opportunity to taste delicious Gouda cheese, a local specialty. After a fantastic half-day experience, return by bike to Zaandam and board the train back to Amsterdam Central Station, where your tour will end.

Zaanse Schans: Authentic Dutch Windmill Entrance Ticket

8. Zaanse Schans: Authentic Dutch Windmill Entrance Ticket

Enjoy an afternoon learning about the inner workings of windmills in the village of Zaanse Schans. To begin, find out how the mill saws a tree into a plank and then learn more about the history of the famous Dutch windmills at an exhibition in the basement of the mill. Next, come inside the world's last-remaining, still-working paint windmill, which is dated back to 1782. If there is enough wind, you can even experience the grinding process and watch how the mill grinds chalk under the large grind stones. In the back of the mill is where the loggers stands, and it is where tropical wood is chopped. Be sure to check out the impressive working wooden interior of this "old" industrial factory.

From Zaandam: Windmills, Clogs & Cheese by Electric Scooter

9. From Zaandam: Windmills, Clogs & Cheese by Electric Scooter

With this 1-day electric scooter rental, you get to decide what time you’ll start out, when and where you’ll stop and how long you’ll spend at the numerous attractions. Before you start the activity you get instructions from an instructor and have a test run. After that, you can go off on your own (not in a group). Your route starts in Landsmeer, a small village just above Amsterdam. It takes about 20 minutes by taxi, car, or bus to get to the starting point from Amsterdam. After a cup of coffee or tea and an explanation of the navigation app routiq, head out to discover the beautiful countryside. With your scooter rental, you’ll get a digital route to the Zaanse Schans, with its traditional Dutch houses and windmills.

Private Tour to the Zaanse Schans Windmills and Giethoorn

10. Private Tour to the Zaanse Schans Windmills and Giethoorn

Start your tour with a convenient, pickup service from your accommodation. After being picked up from Amsterdam in a luxury Mercedes sedan or minivan by a professional driver, travel to one of the most beautiful villages in Holland, Giethoorn. Take a lovely canal cruise through the village, known as the Dutch Venice. The elongated village is located in one of the largest areas of continuous fenland in northern Europe. The village is an excellent starting point to make a canoe trip through the area and there are a number of special museums and art galleries to discover.  After exploring Giethoorn, you will visit the Zaanse Schans. Stroll past the bakery museum and enjoy the smell of fresh bread, or take a look at the warehouse where clogs are made. You should be sure not to miss the cheese factory, pewter foundry, and the various windmills. The Zaanse Schans is a unique part of the Netherlands, full of wooden houses, mills, barns, and workshops. Enjoy a cycling or sailing trip, browse the shops, or treat yourself at the pancake restaurant. After the windmills, you will visit Volendam, a small fishing village with 22000 citizens. Walk along the beautiful harbor and marvel at the typical Volendam shops before enjoying lunch at one of the best seafood restaurants in Holland (at own expense). Depending on the amount of time remaining, you can take a boat trip with the Volendam-Marken express. For over 80-years the Volendam-Marken Express has operated a ferry service between Volendam and Marken. The boats sail all year round and every year thousands of travelers use the ferry to enjoy a relaxed trip on the water and to visit the historic towns and harbors of Volendam and Marken. After a day full of adventure and excitement, your driver will return you back to your accommodation for an evening of well-deserved rest.

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Frequently asked questions about Zaandam Outdoor Activities

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What people are saying about Zaandam

I highly recommend this tour. The 3 locations Giethorn, Volendam and Zaanse Schans were absolutely beautiful. The tour was well organized with about an hour or so to wander on your own. Zaanse Schans was visited first with over an hour of free time, then Volendam with time for lunch and lastly Giethorn with an hour of free time. The amount of time was ample to shop or walk around. These areas are small so it doesnt require alot of time. The tour operator was informational, was clear in describing the cities and itinerary. He was also lighthearted and funny. Dont hesitate, book this tour and enjoy the beauty of Holland.

Hans, our tour guide, was great. Informative, friendly, and flexible. There were only 6 of us in the group including Hans which made it easy to get in and out of all the attractions. The best part was being able to tour a working saw mill, we got to climb the stairs up the mill, see all the mechanicisms, and he described the upkeep needed. We also got to see the saw mill owner in his wooden clogs maintaining the mill, that would of been impossible with a greater number of people. The countryside was pretty and I’m glad I had opportunity to ride through and view them.

Great easy going tour of a picturesque village. We had classic Northern European weather, so Hans did an excellent job of modifying our timing and route to stay dry!

The scenery is marvelous. The tour guide has done excellent jobs. He has share many informative information with us. Make us know Netherlands better

I had a wonderful time the tour guide was so sweet and informative.